Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Slight Change

Actually, the new blog address is http://groooover.com/blog. Just a small change, but it will affect any RSS feed bookmarks or Google Reader subscriptions you may have.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Blog


This blog is officially over, and has been for a year and more. After an extended absence from the blogoshire, I have decided to return, but at a new location. Please find me at

Thank you.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


My Number 1 made it so.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A String of Great Days

My friends,

This is just to say that I've had an outrageously long string of great days in my life. This has prevented me from writing for two big reasons:

1. Why write when I'm feeling good? I know that doesn't really make sense, that it's not a defensible stance, but there it is.
2. I recently visited DC and Utah; I recently wrote, submitted, and defended a master's thesis; I recently participated in a literary festival; I recently saw all the current blockbuster films of the season; I recently sent a woman flowers; I recently met my niece; I recently rode a bike for 20 miles; and on and on. Tomorrow I leave for Idaho for six days.

Besides, the journey to the East is at an end: my graduation is in less than a month.

Proof I'm not dead, or wasn't, two months ago.

The really real reason, though? I fell in love. I spend all my blog time thinking up sweet nothings to whisper delicately in the dark.

Into my cell phone.

Monday, April 20, 2009

On Bad Days

So today wasn't exactly a good day. I was sitting in class (around hour 3 of 6 straight), leaning back in my chair a bit, staring off into space, and my teacher suddenly chomped at me: "Grover! What are you doing? Why so glum? What's wrong?! Why aren't you sitting at the table with the rest of us!? Why don't you shave!?!"

He was kidding, of course, and I gave an appropriately dismissive response and scooted up. But in that first moment of confusion when he started at me, I thought he was serious and prepared a serious answer—well, a serious evasion. I started to say, "Oh, nothing," because that's what you say when something's not right but you don't want to broadcast your problems. So even though he was just mixing up the class a bit with a humorous aside, it set me thinking about what kind of day I was having and why.

Before I tell you about it, I want to say this: there's a difference between having bad days and being aware that a day isn't great. One gets the feeling that in choosing to call a day "bad," one is choosing to be negative, to see the worst in things. And while that may often be the case, it isn't always true. Sometimes the act of recognizing a day as a bad day is the first step to turning it around.

So that's what I was thinking in my class after being called out. I realized in that moment that the day I was in wasn't my best day, that I wasn't at my best for some reason, and that I was merely suffering through it in hopes of a better one tomorrow.

But that's not entirely true either. The day wasn't all bad. It started quite well. I got up early to do a spot of homework before going with some of my church fellows to the bishop's storehouse to do a few hours service. I'd never been to the storehouse before, and I quite liked it. The smell of cardboard there reminded me of my days stocking a Hobby Lobby, and the smell of the cooler reminded me of keeping the salad bar stocked at the restaurant where I waited tables. Also, my grandparents served a mission in a bishop's storehouse in Houston when I was a teenager, and it was nice to see what kind of service they had been doing all those years, especially now that both have passed on. And it was great to see some Church peanut butter, which is canned in Houston next door to the storehouse, a job my grandfather did for many years.

It was nice to see welfare in action, to see how much work is done and how handily and to become aware of just how many are in need.

So what was making me so unhappy in class? Could it be that I wasn't as prepared as I'd wanted to be? Maybe. I hadn't read the material as closely as I'd wanted to. Could it be the stress of finishing grad school? Maybe. School has been known to cause me undue stress, now as much as ever. Could it just be general chemical biological stuff, the randomness of genetics? Possibly. Spring has that effect on me from time to time (I take Claritin, usually).

But here's another hypothesis. My brother claims that any day on which he fails to shower is a good day. Whenever he's feeling great and wonders why, he inevitably concludes that the reason is that he did not wash away the natural oils that his body produces to protect him. People say that's crazy but he challenges them to find another common factor in all his good days. I, too, enjoy not showering all the dang time, but I think I may have a limit. Sitting in class today I realized that I didn't feel right because I didn't feel clean anymore. My hair was getting greasy and, as my teacher kindly pointed out, I hadn't shaved in more than a few days. I was wearing the same clothes as the day before (and the day before?), and I was a little damp from walking to school in the rain. Earlier in the day I had wanted to shower but hadn't had the time. I was feeling grubby, crummy.

So, could the reason I suddenly felt the day wasn't a good day be that I wasn't clean and wanted to be? Is it that simple?

If so, tomorrow's going to be so good it'll hurt. See you in the morning, shower.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy for Me

So here's the scoop: I've got a girlfriend. Somewhere out there in the world is a nice young lady who has agreed not to date anyone one else for the time being. More than that, she tells me that she likes me, that she thinks about me when I'm not around, that she longs to be with me.

We're a long-distance couple, see, and so this is a big thing, I think. I've been asking around for advice on how to manage a relationship over miles and miles of space, and the overwhelming response is "Don't waste your time." But I am, I want to, she wants to, and we're doing things to make it worth it regardless.

That's not what this is about—this isn't an announcement. But you need to know something about the situation to understand what I'm trying to say.

Many of you are aware that the last time I was in a relationship was three years ago. You may also be aware that I'm 27, which, in Mormon terms, is often "misheard" as 47 (though that's not what this is about either). So you can, perhaps, appreciate that I'm pretty excited about what's happening in my life right now. Outrageously excited at times.

And yet, I've been terribly cautious about talking about this at all. On the one hand, I'm trying to be discreet. But that doesn't explain why I find myself carefully talking around the fact that I have a girlfriend, why—though suddenly hours and hours of my time are being used to compose emails and place phone calls, though half my energy goes into daydreaming and trying to conjure up the remembered shadow of this girl I've met only twice but decided to bind myself to, though since six weeks ago everything I hear, see, touch, taste, and smell is refracted first through the lens of her imagined heart and only then processed by my own—why, despite all that, I don't allow her name to enter my conversation even a fraction of the amount of times it enters my mind. Everything in my world has changed color, but I'm carefully still calling blue blue, green green, and red red. Just the other day, Kate smilingly accused me of being very excited about it all when I accidentally used the words "my girlfriend" twice in one day. She was right, of course, and I checked myself: I had gotten carried away on little hiccups of joy. The pleasure of hearing those words escape my mouth—"my girlfriend"—had proven too much to refuse.

I've been thinking about why this is so, about why I'm loath to make vocal the way I'm starting to feel about a girl. This is the stuff that songs are written about, right? The stuff that poets eat, that spiral notebooks are graffitied with. So why am I playing it so close to the chest?

Part of it is, of course, common courtesy, and another part of it is a fear of finding myself naïve tomorrow. I realize it's all a little ridiculous and a lot tentative, that what today seems to be a real and lasting connection might turn out tomorrow to be a misunderstanding or a misplaced expectation. But that's the easy and obvious answer, one that ultimately speaks in my favor.

May I suggest an original and honest answer? I fear the reason may be that I find it hard to believe that my hearers will be genuinely happy for me. I know, this sounds absurd, and it is. Why wouldn't my friends and family be happy that I'm happy, that I may have found someone with which to be long happy? In truth, all those I've told have been nothing but enthusiastic and encouraging.1 There have been smiles and interested questions and pats on the back. They've all been dears (thank you, all). But I've met their queries with reluctance, with self-effacement and dodging, in most cases, and widely abbreviated accounts of the truth, and I'm scared of what it says about me and how I see them.

Many of my friends are single themselves, and many of our conversations revolve around past, present, and possible love (or, as one remarked recently, "I thought leaving Provo would end so much talk of relationships, but boy was I wrong!"). Some of them have been single much longer than me and some are older than me, but many are younger or have had more luck. Some really seem to want it and some seem unhurried, and, among the girls who are my confidants, there is sometimes the [mostly] unspoken possibility of love between us. Do I really have so little respect and admiration for these my friends that I imagine, rationally or not, consciously or not, that deep in their hearts they would feel jealousy rather than happiness at my good fortune? Why else would I clam up; why else tiptoe through conversations with my closest and best?

There may be a worse reason. Could it be that deep down in my own heart I lack the ability to be happy for myself? That I don't really believe this is possible, that I don't find myself deserving? Could it be that I believe that I am not destined for happiness, that I am not, in the end, lovable? Could the very reason I almost can't bear to hear myself exult, that her name has become almost an incantation, that I fear to dart and bound lest this collection of stained glass and fairy dust be shaken from my heart be that I respect and admire myself least of all, that what I fear is that I—not she, and not the rest of you—but that I will be the one who finally turns away from me in disgust?

1 The pessimistic advice has all come from strangers or people who didn't know I was asking on my own behalf.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Contest Results

Last week in the office at school I sponsored a caption contest. Here are some of the hilarious results (click on pics to see full sized).

The contest announcement was posted on the wall last Tuesday.

First Place: Joe P.—no, that's too obvious: J. Plicka.

Second Place: Holly

Honorable Mention: My Liege

Honorable Mention: Joey

Honorable Mention: Zach

I posted the winners on the backs of old flyers I stole from the bulletin board in the hall. Is that wrong? Since I posted, there's been a lot of backlash in the office including accusations of "Mormon nepotism" and self-declarations of winningness.

Zach says he's going to sponsor a reverse-caption contest when we get back from Spring Break.